At 57m long, 6m wide and 20m high, the Great Sphinx at Giza is the largest single-stone sculpture in the world. But who built it? Dr Vassil Dobrev, from the French Institute in Cairo, is on the verge of cracking the riddle of the Sphinx!
In Ancient Egyptian mythology, a sphinx is a zoomorphic figure, usually depicted as a recumbent lioness or lion with a human head, but occasionally as a lion with the head of a falcon, hawk, or ram. The figure had its origin in the Old Kingdom and is associated with the solar deity Sekhmet. The use of heads of other animals atop the lioness body followed the titular deities of the city or region where they were built or which were prominent in the Egyptian pantheon at the time.
Later, the sphinx image, something very similar to the original Egyptian concept, was exported into many other cultures, albeit often interpreted quite differently due to translations of descriptions of the originals and the evolution of the concept in relation to other cultural traditions.